VICTOR, N.Y. (WROC) — When Neil Reidy, head golf professional at Cobblestone Creek Country Club, learned about Operation 36 at a conference, he called his assistants and told them to scrap the summer program they had in place.
Created by pros Matt Reagan and Ryan Dailey, Operation 36 is designed to help beginners shoot par for nine holes. Participants, usually children, start on the green 25 yards away from the hole. After they can do that successfully through a round, they move to 36 yards, then 50 yards, continuously moving back until they can start from the tee box.
Cobblestone Creek is one of the 525 locations that host Operation 36’s junior program. The curriculum is based on game play, revolving around twelve main concepts, including putting, green reading, ball flight, grip, posture, and more.
“It’s sustainable growth, not just teaching them the idea of it and then seeing if they can figure it out on the golf course,” said Matthew Jarrell, senior assistant golf pro at Cobblestone Creek. “You’re teaching them the etiquette, the rules, and how to score, which something we don’t normally teach the juniors.”
One of the most unique aspects of the program is its digital tracking aspect. As juniors play their rounds, they record their data into an app, which helps instructors figure out an individualized plan for each participant’s growth. These scores come from playing weekly rounds teeing off from their respective distances. Jarrell believes the program is revolutionary, and way to have kids fall in love with the game for years to come.
“I think it’s the future of golf, it’s how golf should be taught,” said Jarrell. “It’s hard to get discouraged shooting 50 yards to the hole, shooting a 45 or 50 your first try. It’s a lot different than going out trying from a normal tee box and shooting from 150 in your first round and never wanting to play the game again. It’s very easy to engage golfers and create golfers out of juniors.”
Reidy and his staff will continue to use Operation 36 as the course’s main form of youth instruction beyond this summer, and hope to offer expanded programs for adults in the future.